The Handmaid and the Carpenter

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December 13, 2006 at 05:00 AM EST

In The Handmaid and the Carpenter, Elizabeth Berg’s spare rendering of the couple who would raise Jesus, Mary is a precocious teenager who beguiles Joseph, one of Nazareth’s best catches, when they first meet. Mary’s premarital pregnancy rocks them both, making the story of their love its own miracle. Berg makes this biblical tale as relatable as her domestic dramas with her eye for tiny, telling moments — Joseph’s nervousness when he washes the wrong hand first before Sabbath dinner, Mary’s boldness when she touches his knee out of wedlock. Thus the oldest story ever told becomes fresh, even modern.

The Handmaid and the Carpenter

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The Handmaid and the Carpenter

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